Former top Russian and European diplomats are asking their countries’ leaders to ramp up cooperation, not eschew it, to resolve a major rift over Ukraine.
Recalling “basic lessons of crisis-management learned during the Cold War,” the group of elder statesmen made their plea in a position paper released Thursday by the European Leadership Network and other think tanks.
Among the documents’ signatories are notable Russian figures, including former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and the Kremlin’s foreign-intelligence chief, retired Gen. Vyacheslav Trubnikov. European signatories include past foreign and defense ministers of Poland, the United Kingdom, Spain and France.
Their paper comes as a conflict over Ukraine between Russia on the one side and Europe and the United States on the other threatens to spiral out of control. Western officials suspect Russia of propping up pro-Moscow separatists in the eastern part of the country, purposefully destabilizing Ukraine. Many Russians see the conflict as a must-win battle against Western efforts to encroach on their borders.
The recent downing in Ukrainian air space of a civilian passenger jet, which killed nearly 300, has further stoked tensions as a search for the perpetrators unfolds.
For starters, the position paper proposes that all sides emphasize restraint to their respective military chains of command. In addition, mechanisms for dispute resolution must be strengthened, the document recommends.
“The NATO-Russia Council has barely met since the crisis in Ukraine erupted,” the former officials lament. “E.U.-Russia crisis management arrangements also do not exist.”
They also warn that strictly unilateral measures, such as a Russian invasion into Ukraine or tough European sanctions against Moscow, likely would backfire rather than resolve the conflict.
What We're Following See More »
Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.
Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”